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Lichtenberg, J.D. (1981). Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity: Regression and Style in the Life and Works of Henry James. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(1):107-131.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(1):107-131

Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity: Regression and Style in the Life and Works of Henry James

Joseph D. Lichtenberg, M.D.

Summing up his childhood, Henry James remarked, “We wholesomely breathed inconsistency and ate and drank contradictions” (Edel, 1953p. 47). The paradoxical use of the word “wholesome” cannot be understood as a simple, direct approbation of the perversely ambiguous world of his childhood. The inconsistency he breathed and the contradictions he ate and drank became wholesome through the unique uses he put them to in the creation of his personal style and in the changing styles of his work. My premises are:

(1)  Henry James became the unique individual he was as a result of responding to adversity by a series of developmental choices.

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